Experts find link between TB and diabetes

People with tuberculosis have high chances of becoming diabetic, just as people with diabetes are at a higher risk of contracting tuberculosis, experts said here on Saturday. Ahead of the DRC Gold Medal Oration 2011 organised by MV Hospital for Diabetes, WHO department of chronic diseases and health promotion responsible officer Dr Gojka Roglic said with 61.3 million diabetics, India has the second largest population of diabetics after China, where there are 90 million diabetics.

"Diabetes is a silent killer. More deaths occur due to diabetes than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined," she said. The MV Hospital for diabetes, in a study yet to be published, had found that nearly 25% of TB patients enrolled under the revised national tuberculosis control programme in Tamil Nadu were diabetic. The research team had screened tuberculosis units in urban, semi-urban and rural areas of the state.

The government of Kerala had also found high prevalence of diabetes in TB patients. When data from two states were published before the officers in charge of the national tuberculosis programme, officials had ordered a bi-direction study where doctors will screen diabetics for TB and TB patients for diabetes. In Chennai, two centres - Sri Ramachandra University and MV Hospital for Diabetes - will do the screening, said diabetologist Dr Vijay Vishwanathan.

Earlier, the hospital honoured Dr Ramchandra Dattatraya Lele, former medical director of Jaslok Hospital, Mumbai for his services in teaching and medical care. British deputy high commissioner Mike Nithavrianakis gave away the award. Dr Anoop Misra, who delivered the oration, said most of the research done in India with respect to diabetes are cross-sectional, epidemiological, descriptive statistics or anecdotal. "Interventions for prevention of diabetes with diet, exercise and metformin have been demonstrated in western countries and in India," he said.

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